Ireland first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest at the 1965 Contest in Naples, participating in every subsequent Contest but two: the 1983 Contest in Munich and the 2002 Contest in Tallinn.
Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) is Ireland's representative broadcaster at the Contest, and broadcasts the Contest annually; the semi-final is broadcast on RTÉ Two and the final on RTÉ One. All but one of the country's entries have been in English; the exception is "Ceol an Ghrá", Ireland's entry in 1972, which was sung in Irish.
On seven occasions the Contest has been staged in Ireland, all but one of these in the capital Dublin, when the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest was held in Millstreet, a town with a population of 1,500 people in west County Cork, following Linda Martin's win in 1992.
Ireland won the Contest for the first time in 1970 with Dana performing "All Kinds of Everything". In total, Ireland has won the Contest seven times, more than any other country, including an unprecedented three consecutive victories in the 1990s (1992, 1993 and 1994 - the most consecutive wins accumulated by a country to date). The decade also saw yet another victory in 1996 and two second place finishes (in 1990 and 1997), which gives Ireland the best overall performance by any country in the history of the Contest.
Ireland has an average of 74 points per contest, the highest average 2 points above the United Kingdom.
Butch Moore, the first Irish entrants performing "Walking the Streets in the Rain" at Naples (1965)
Ireland has competed in the Contest almost continuously since the country's debut in 1965 (absent in 1983 and 2002). In 1983 a strike at the country's national broadcaster RTÉ meant that the broadcaster lacked the resources to send a participant so RTÉ broadcast the Contest with commentary from the BBC. In 2002 Ireland were relegated from the Contest for one year; despite this RTÉ broadcast the Contest and sent a commentator (the rules in use at the time meant that a country who wanted to take part had to show the previous year's Contest). RTÉ presenter Marty Whelan has been the national commentator since the 2000 Contest.
Ireland has sent 45 entries to the Eurovision Song Contest; of these seven have won and eighteen have finished in the top five. Ireland has been relegated once: in 2001 Gary O'Shaughnessy finished twenty-first with "Without Your Love," which meant Ireland was forced to sit out of the 2002 contest. In addition, four Irish entries have featured in the semi-final of the Contest. In 2005, Donna & Joe finished fourteenth in the pre-qualifier, failing to qualify for the final. In 2006, Brian Kennedy finished ninth in the semifinal, ensuring an Irish presence in the Athens final. Kennedy finished tenth in the final. Ireland also featured in the first semi-final in 2008 and in the second semi-final in 2009, however the representatives failed to qualify for the final in both.
Ireland's recent results in the Contest have been poor in comparison to the 1990s. At the Contest in 2007, Ireland's representatives were traditional Irish music group Dervish performing "They Can't Stop The Spring". The group, having automatically qualified for the final, finished last with five points, all from Albania. In 2008, Dustin the Turkey failed to qualify for the final with his song "Irelande Douze Pointe", losing out in the semi-final on May 20. The same fate befell Sinéad Mulvey and Black Daisy in the 2009 semi-final on May 14. In 2011 however, Ireland's luck changed as they sent Lucan born twins John and Edward Grimes. The duo finished in eight place, with 119 points, thus making them Ireland's most successful entry in 11 years. Their single Lipstick topped the iTunes charts in Austria, Germany, Ireland and Sweden.
Six singers have represented Ireland more than once at the Contest: Johnny Logan (1980, 1987), Linda Martin (1984, 1992), Niamh Kavanagh (1993, 2010), Tommy and Jimmy Swarbrigg (as "The Swarbriggs" in 1975 and part of "The Swarbriggs Plus Two" in 1977), and Maxi (as a soloist in 1973 and as part of Sheeba in 1981). Eight people have written and composed more than one Irish entry: Brendan Graham (1976, 1985, 1994, 1996), Johnny Logan (1984, 1987, 1992), Tommy and Jimmy Swarbrigg (1975, 1977), Liam Reilly (1990, 1991), Joe Burkett (composer 1972, lyricist 1981), and Niall Mooney & Jonas Gladnikoff (2009, 2010).
Almost all of Ireland's Eurovision entries prior to 1998 were conducted by Noel Kelehan. The exceptions were 1965 (Gianni Ferrio), 1970 (Dolf van der Linden), from 1972 to 1975 (Colman Pearce), 1979 (Proinnsias O'Duinn), 1994 (no conductor, although Kelehan conducted other entries) and 1997 (Frank McNamara).
Ireland has also indulged in the process of writing songs for other countries; Ronan Keating (who also presented the 1997 contest) wrote the 2009 entry for Denmark.
1965 Butch Moore "Walking the Streets in the Rain" 6th
1966 Dickie Rock "Come Back to Stay" 4th
1967 Sean Dunphy "If I Could Choose" 2nd
1968 Pat McGuigan "Chance of a Lifetime" 4th
1969 Muriel Day "The Wages of Love" 7th
1970 Dana "All Kinds of Everything" 1st
1971 Angela Farrell "One Day Love" 11th
1972 Sandie Jones "Ceol an Ghrá" 15th
1973 Maxi "Do I Dream" 10th
1974 Tina Reynolds "Cross Your Heart" 7th
1975 The Swarbriggs "That's What Friends Are For" 9th
1976 Red Hurley "When" 10th
1977 The Swarbriggs Plus Two "It's Nice To Be In Love Again" 3rd
1978 Colm T. Wilkinson "Born to Sing" 5th
1979 Cathal Dunne "Happy Man" 5th
1980 Johnny Logan "What's Another Year?" 1st
1981 Sheeba "Horoscopes" 5th
1982 The Duskeys "Here Today Gone Tomorrow" 11th
1984 Linda Martin "Terminal 3" 2nd
1985 Maria Christian "Wait Until the Weekend Comes" 6th
1986 Luv Bug "You Can Count On Me" 4th
1987 Johnny Logan "Hold Me Now" 1st
1988 Jump The Gun "Take Him Home" 8th
1989 Kiev Connolly & The Missing Passengers "The Real Me" 18th
1990 Liam Reilly "Somewhere In Europe" 2nd
1991 Kim Jackson "Could It Be That I'm In Love" 10th
1992 Linda Martin "Why Me?" 1st
1993 Niamh Kavanagh "In Your Eyes" 1st
1994 Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan "Rock 'n' Roll Kids" 1st
1995 Eddie Friel "Dreamin'" 14th
1996 Eimear Quinn "The Voice" 1st
1997 Marc Roberts "Mysterious Woman" 2nd
1998 Dawn Martin "Is Always Over Now?" 9th
1999 The Mullans "When You Need Me" 17th
2000 Eamonn Toal "Millennium of Love" 6th
2001 Gary O'Shaughnessy "Without Your Love" 21st
2003 Mickey Harte "We've Got the World" 11th
2004 Chris Doran "If My World Stopped Turning" 22nd in final
2005 Donna and Joe "Love?" 14the in semi-final
2006 Brian Kennedy "Every Song Is a Cry for Love" 9th in final
2007 Dervish "They Can't Stop the Spring" 24th in semi-final
2008 Dustin the Turkey "Irelande Douze Pointe" 15th in semi-final
2009 Sinéad Mulvey & Black Daisy "Et Cetera" 11th in semi-final
2010 Niamh Kavanagh "It's for You" 23rd in final
2011 Jedward "Lipstick" 8th in final
Voting history (1975–2011)Ireland benefits from "neighbourly" voting from the United Kingdom. Before the introduction of televoting Irish juries tended to award the United Kingdom more or less the same number of points as other countries did. Since the advent of televoting both countries have given above average points to each other; usually 8 points. In recent years Ireland has also voted for countries where a large diaspora live in Ireland, such as Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. In 2008 Ireland gave 8 points to the UK, 10 to Poland and 12 to Latvia.
Statistically, Ireland is the fourteenth-best country at predicting a winner , giving an average of 8.41 points to the winning country every year over its 25 appearances since the current voting methods were implemented. Only twice (Turkey in 2003 and Azerbaijan in 2011) did Ireland fail to give any votes to the winning country.
Ireland has given the most points to...
1 United Kingdom 172
2 France 123
3 Germany 117
= Norway 117
= Sweden 117
4 Denmark 113
5 Netherlands 83
Ireland has received the most points from...
1 United Kingdom 206
2 Sweden 195
3 Switzerland 156
4 Norway 151
5 Austria 146
NOTE: The totals in the above tables include only points awarded in Eurovision finals, and not the semi-finals since 2004.
Ireland is the only country to have hosted multiple Contests in succession; three in a row between 1993 and 1995. Six of the seven Contests held in Ireland have been held in Dublin; three at the Point Depot, two at the RDS and one at the Gaiety Theatre. In addition, the 1993 Contest was held in Millstreet, County Cork. During the 1994 contest, the dancing group Riverdance made their debut as an interval act.
1971 Dublin Gaiety Theatre - Bernadette Ní Ghallchóir
1981 Dublin RDS Simmonscourt - Doireann Ní Bhriain
1988 Dublin RDS Simmonscourt - Michelle Rocca and Pat Kenny
1993 Millstreet Green Glens Arena - Fionnuala Sweeney
1994 Dublin Point Depot - Cynthia Ní Mhurchú and Gerry Ryan
1995 Dublin Point Depot - Mary Kennedy
1997 Dublin Point Depot - Carrie Crowley and Ronan Keating
1965-1966 Brendan O'Reilly
1967-1968 Frank Hall
1969 Gay Byrne
1970 Valerie McGovern
1971 Noel Andrews
1972-1973 Frank Hall
1974-1977 Mike Murphy
1978 Larry Gogan
1979 Mike Murphy
1980-1982 Larry Gogan
1983 Terry Wogan
1984 Gay Byrne
1985 Linda Martin
1986 Gerry Ryan
1987 Marty Whelan
1988 Ronan Collins
1989 Ronan Collins and Michelle Rocca
1990 Jimmy Greeley and Clíona Ní Bhuachalla
1991-1999 Pat Kenny
2000-current Marty Whelan